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photo credit: Rennett Stowe via photopin cc
photo credit: Rennett Stowe via photopin cc

Today’s red letters are from Luke’s account of the Sermon on the Mount.

Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure--pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return. - Luke 6:38

I know that nine out of ten times (perhaps 99 out of 100) when this is taught, the lesson is about money, but I think it has a much broader reach. The fact is that the context is that of relational advise more than money advise, though Jesus’ words are flowing back and forth between giving, and loving, and judging, and well, just life in general.

And that is what I want to use for my application today, LIFE.

Are you stingy with your life? Do you keep all of your “self” to yourself? Are you a life hoarder?

Have you ever noticed that when you pull back from living your life in community, your life begins to dry up? At first it might feel like you have a bit more freedom, nobody asking you to serve, nobody poking at your life, or getting in your stuff. But soon, you feel like life is not fulfilling. You go through a rough patch and there is no one to stand beside you.

I don’t think we realize that life is a commodity, and we are not given life to hoard and keep to our selves, but the life we are given is meant to be shared, spread around, planted, given away.

Now, I know there are some of you out there who give away all the life that you have, and keep none for yourself, and of course you are the ones reading this thinking – “I should get more involved” – Well, perhaps not. Be sure to save some of your precious life to sustain your family. He who does not care for the needs of his own family is worse than an infidel – that goes for your time and love and life, as much, or more than it does for your money.

But if you find yourself feeling alone, left out, forsaken, consider whether you have stopped sharing that wonderful commodity that God has put in your hands for the express purpose of sharing – YOU.

Do you want to unstop the flow of life into your world? Share what you have, and God will press it down, shake it together and pour so much life back into your lap you won’t know what to do. [Tweet This]

How was Jesus able to feed 5,000 people? By taking the tiny offering of a young boy who was willing to share.

Paul said it this way:

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. - Galatians 6:7

Spread some life today!

Ben NelsonThanks for coming by.

See you again soon.

Ben

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“I Shall Be Whole” { The Woman with an Issue of Blood } Painted by Al Young http://alyoung.com/art/work-hem.html
“I Shall Be Whole”
{ The Woman with an Issue of Blood }
Painted by Al Young http://alyoung.com/art/work-hem.html

Immediately Jesus, perceiving in Himself that the power proceeding from Him had gone forth, turned around in the crowd and said, "Who touched My garments?" - Mark 5:30

Yesterday we looked at how the woman with the hemorrhage was able by faith to tap the power of God that was resident in Jesus. If you missed it, you can check it out here.

I think what Jesus did is super informative for us.

Jesus saw what the Father was doing and joined. There are times – maybe most of the time – that Jesus was way ahead of the crowd, but somehow, this time, Jesus was not aware ahead of time what the Father was going to do.

Does this seem like blasphemy to you? I promise I am not going for blasphemy. I believe Jesus is God, that He is the 2nd person of the Trinity. I believe He created all things, and that He is eternal.

Here is an important point of theology though. When Jesus walked the earth, He did not stop being God, but He limited His use of the supernatural to only what was possible for a human who was filled with the Holy Spirit.

Rather than Jesus being a magic man, doing miracles by His own creative and redemptive power as God, He did miracles by the Spirit using the power of God. He saw what the Father was doing, and joined Him. Jesus partnered with the Father to do every miracle He did as He walked the streets of Galilee.

And in the story we are pondering currently of the woman with the hemorrhage, the power had already flowed from Jesus into the woman when Jesus picked up on what the Father was doing.

He immediately saw what was happening, and joined it. He confirmed what He was with the Father in four ways

  1. He told her to have courage – “Daughter, take courage” (Matthew 9:22)
  2. He told her what happened – “your faith has made you well” (Luke 8:48)
  3. He spoke peace into her life – “go in peace” (Luke 8:48)
  4. He sent her away with the expectation that not only the bleeding, but the horror that had been her life for twelve years was now over. “be healed of your affliction.” (Mark 5:34)

Lord, I want to be so full of the Holy Spirit that others can tap into it. Let it be a river flowing out of my inner most being into a dry and thirsty land. Lord, I want to be attentive to what you are doing with that river, where it is flowing, so I can speak into the lives you are changing around me with Your words of life.

Ben NelsonThanks for coming by.

See you again soon.

Ben

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Christ Heals a Man Paralyzed by the Gout. Mark 2:4. Engraving by Bernhard Rode, 1780. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rode_1.jpg

This story of the paralytic who was carried to the Master by four of his friends appears in 3 of the gospels. Each of course has it’s own highlights and details.

I particularly like how it starts out in Luke’s gospel.

Now it happened on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was present to heal them. ~ Luke 5:17 (NKJV)

I love this note at the end of this first part of Luke’s tale. “the power of the Lord was present to heal them.” This intrigues me.

Luke wrote this work as a documentation of historical facts, and probably worked from Mark’s earlier account for laying out the events, but clearly gathered information from other first hand witnesses.

It is clear to me that someone he spoke with was aware of the presence of a particular power that accompanied Jesus. I suppose it could be that he is simply stating the fact that since Jesus was there, and He heals folks, that the power of the Lord was there to heal or perhaps the fact that He was teaching, and His teaching was almost always accompanied by healing. Or it may be that someone in the room had been around the Lord when He healed in the past and was able to see the tell tale signs of this healing virtue, or power.

Do you remember the account of the woman with the issue of blood? It says virtue, or power flowed out of Jesus when she touched the hem of His garment, and He sensed this flow of power.

I believe that is what the writer is talking about here, a palpable sense of the power of the Lord to heal, that someone who had been around Him for a while would be able to discern.

The sad part here is that there was a house full of people who were not there to receive, they were there to pass judgment.

Who does this youngster think He is?

I taught Him to read and write, and now He thinks He is something?

What is all the fuss? Isn’t He the one who made my dining room table?

How do you approach the Lord and His word?

How do you listen when the word is preached? Are you a judge, or a recipient.

I have a really simple point today.

Next time you sit under the preaching or teaching of the word, take off your Pharisee’s robes, and put on your student’s (disciple’s) tunic.

The Sun of Righteousness comes with healing in His wings. (Malachi 4:2)

Ben NelsonThanks for coming by today.

See you again soon.

Ben

By the way, if you missed the first hand account of this day in Jesus life, you should check out "Arise, Take up your bed and walk"

Stack of BiblesIn Paul’s account of the gospel he uses this phrase twice:

…Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures ~ 1 Corinthians 15:3- 4

So let’s take a look.

Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. ~ Isaiah 53:4-5

 

My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?
I am poured out like water,
And all my bones are out of joint;
My heart is like wax; It is melted within me.
My strength is dried up like a potsherd,
And my tongue cleaves to my jaws;
And Thou dost lay me in the dust of death.
For dogs have surrounded me;
A band of evildoers has encompassed me;
They pierced my hands and my feet.
I can count all my bones.
They look, they stare at me;
They divide my garments among them,
And for my clothing they cast lots.
Psalm 22: 1, 14-18

 

As I began to poke around after a reference to three days I was pretty blown away by what I found. There are 41 uses of the phrase ‘three days’ in the Old Testament (using the NASB translation) and as I scan through them I find tons of references that point to the three days Jesus spent in the tomb. Check this one out:

Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness and found no water. And when they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter; therefore it was named Marah. So the people grumbled at Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” Then he cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a tree; and he threw it into the waters, and the waters became sweet. There He made for them a statute and regulation, and there He tested them. ~ Exodus 15:22-25

So perhaps you will say I am stretching things, but I see in this account – Israel passing through the Dead Sea and going 3 days into the wilderness. They find no water for three days. Finally, after 3 days there is water, but it is just more death. Then when the tree (cross) is thrown into the bitter water of death, it becomes the source of life for all who drink of it.

The most obvious is probably Jonah in the belly of the whale, who Jesus himself pointed to as a foreshadowing of the time He would spend in the grave.

Jesus fulfilled hundreds of Scriptures, which foreshadowed everything from His conception, His birth, His ministry, His torture, death, burial and resurrection.

I love the account of the two disciples walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus on the day of Christ’s resurrection. You can find it in Luke 24. Jesus shows up and walks the seven miles with them, and during that hike He explained everything to them from the Scriptures.

Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” And beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures. ~ Luke 24:26-27

My point? The gospel of Jesus Christ was not something that was cobbled together after His death to create some religion, so the disciples would save face.

The gospel of Jesus Christ – His death, burial, and resurrection was planned and set in motion long before that first Christmas, long before Israel ventured into the wilderness. As far as that goes, the gospel was in motion before Adam sinned, before God breathed the breath of life into the dust of the Earth and made man in His own image.

Is He not:

“the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” ~ Revelation 13:8

All I have to say is Glory to God for the eternal gospel of Jesus the Christ.

Ben NelsonSee you tomorrow

Ben

Cheryl at Bread for the Bride posted this article this week, and I wanted to share it with any of you who do not know Cheryl's blog.

gethsemane

And a leper came to Jesus, beseeching Him and falling on his knees before Him, and saying, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.”  Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.”  Mark 1:40-41

The willingness of God to meet us just where He finds us is absolute.  There is no dark place He is not willing to enter with His light and His Life. There is no hidden corner His Love is not willing to penetrate.  There is no shame, no hurt, no brokenness He is not willing to heal, no secret sin He is not willing to forgive and no life destroyed He is not willing to restore.

The greatest test of God’s willingness towards man took place in Gethsemane.  There the Father proved His willingness to sacrifice His own Son so that humanity might escape the grip of sin and death.  There the Son, through blood, sweat and tears, surrendered His human will to agree with the divine will of His Father, for humanity’s sake.  There the Holy Spirit ministered unfathomable grace to the Son, enabling Him to emerge victorious from the greatest spiritual battle of His earthly ministry.  The battle was all about willingness. (Luke 22:42)

The dumbest question a person can ask is:  … Read More

The Real Coalition of the Willing | Bread for the Bride.

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping in

Ben

And when evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill in order that what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, “HE HIMSELF TOOK OUR INFIRMITIES, AND CARRIED AWAY OUR DISEASES.” ~ Matthew 8:16-17

Let me recap:

It’s is the Sabbath (we know this from Luke 4.) I said the other day that it was the same day He made His declaration, but I must correct that. This was actually the day He cast out a demon in Church (OK Synagogue.)

He and some of the boys headed over to Peter and Andrew’s house and Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law.

Next we see this:

When evening had come

Or as Luke puts it in

While the sun was setting ~ Luke 4:40

The folks in these good Jewish communities waited till the sun was setting, until the Sabbath was over and then they got to Jesus just as quick as they could.

Luke tells us:

all who had any sick with various diseases brought them to Him ~ Luke 4:40

So in the town of Capernaum when Jesus left, if I am doing the math right, there was no one left in the city either sick or demon possessed! They brought them all to Jesus, and He healed them all.

Do you have someone to bring to Jesus today?

Don’t wait for the sun to set – let’s carry them to Jesus now!

Lord, I am so glad that You are the same yesterday, today, and forever. We bring our sick, our broken, our lost to You today, and ask that You touch, You speak the word, You do what You do!

Ben NelsonThanks for coming today.

See you soon

Ben

One last thing about this Jesus encounter:

And He arose and left the synagogue, and entered Simon’s home. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever; and they made request of Him on her behalf.  And standing over her, He rebuked the fever, and it left her; and she immediately arose and waited on them. ~ Luke 4:38-39

Jesus rebuked the fever.

Sometimes the right approach is to deal directly with the opposition.

Jesus rebuked the fever.

Sometimes you need to get right in the face of the problem and send it packing.

HOWEVER

It’s time for us to realize that satan (yes – it is lowercase intentionally) and Jesus are not on the same line. Have you ever prayed this way:

Lord, in the name of Jesus please reach down and touch like only you can, and satan, I command you to take your hand off. Thank you Father in Jesus name.

We sit with eyes closed, and heads bowed and talk to satan. He does not deserve our reverence.

Ok – I know I am just picking now, but Jesus and satan are not on a party line.

I believe in dealing directly with satan, but it is time to open your eyes, lift your head up and rebuke, resist, and refuse him directly.

Jesus did not pray to satan, Jesus did not pray to fever, Jesus did not pray to disabilities. He rebuked them, He addressed them, He commanded them to go.

And they left.

BenWell – there you go

See you again soon

Ben

 

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